Under My Spell

By
Some people say you can control who you fall in love with. You can simply ignore the feelings, put them aside, and try your best not to think about it. Like making up excuses for staring at someone by saying you are staring at the clock, not your object of affection. Or making a detour to pass the person you like, just to experience those extra few seconds where you are absolutely positive that you are desperately and irrationally in love.
And that’s what my friend Haley truly believed. Until that certain someone started to date her little sister. Haley sat on my bed, her legs crossed, and tears streaming out of her hazel eyes. I cautiously entered her room, armed with a box of tissues and her favorite Haagen-Dazs ice cream, rocky road. Her long chestnut hair was smoothed back and slung into a ponytail. She was dressed in a pink camisole, with short striped shorts that matched. I took a seat beside her, and handed her the bowl. I had scooped generous amounts into the bowl. As she took it, she took a huge amount from the bowl with the spoon.
“Why doesn’t he love me?” She wailed, shoving the ice cream into her mouth, muffling her cries.
“Because he’s an a**hole.” I comforted her, as I placed my hand on her arm. She wailed even louder. The tears marred her pale complexion, as he gulped the ice cream. She placed it on her night stand, as he wiped the tears from her face with the back of her hand.
“This must be getting old for you Leighton. This was what…my third massive breakup this year?” She said.
“That’s what friends are for. Take deep breaths, and try to calm down.” I said. She nodded slowly, but that only worked for moment. The radio switched onto a new song, and she burst into hysterics again.
“This was our…song!” Haley cried. I had to admit, at this minute, I felt somewhat lucky that I had never dated a guy before. Nor thought seriously about them. Because these break ups were enough to make any sensible girl want to avoid finding someone. Within another hour of watching her favorite movie, The Notebook, she fell asleep. I slid blankets over her, before grabbing my bag off of the floor. Haley and I had been close friends ever since elementary school, but I had to admit, she made bad decisions regarding guys. She was even worse when it came to break ups.
I didn’t exactly hang with her as much as we used to, she was in a different crowd then me. I spent most of my time concentrating on extra curricular activities, school work, and helping my mom out in her shop. It made me feel nostalgic sometimes, but isn’t that how most things are in high school? People you knew all your life suddenly aren’t who you thought they were. You begin to doubt your judgment.
My name is Leighton Lewis. I am sixteen years old, and am currently a junior at Madison High school. I have a mother, and a younger brother who sometimes I wonder if I even know anything about him. I whispered a hasty good night to Haley, as I slipped onto her small balcony. I wasn’t exactly the most acrobatic of teens. Thus, when we were younger Haley had purchased a small step ladder. We hid it on her balcony. It was the type of ladder that folded up and extended. Because when I had been twelve years old, I climbed down her big oak tree, and fell…and sprained my ankle.
The ladder was rusting now, because it wasn’t often that she needed me. Until this year. When her boyfriends started breaking her heart, and she realized most of her so-called “friends” didn’t actually give a crap about her. I climbed down the ladder as silently as I could manage, before crossing the yard and hopping the low chain-link fence. I managed to make it down the sidewalk, and over to my mother’s tan Hyundai. I slid the key in, and got in without making much noise.
When I drove away I eased onto the gas, so it wouldn’t make much noise. It was around midnight, and I was sure that if I woke up her parents, I would be as good as dead. Once I got home, I saw the lights were all out. My mom was either asleep, or up late at the shop designing a new outfit. Getting into my house was much more complicated. There was only one way in. The front door. Sure, there was a back door, but there was a problem with it. It was the porch. The porch hinge was rusted, and my mother had neglected to fix it, ever since a few years ago. She insisted on getting my brother to fix it, but he wasn’t exactly the best with doors.
Thus, anytime you opened that door, the hinges screeched like there was no tomorrow. I managed to make it through the front door and into the bathroom undetected. I flicked on the light, and gazed at my reflection in the mirror. An exhausted teenager stared back at me. My straight black hair reached a little past my shoulders, slightly messy, and my eyes were rimmed with small bags due to my comfort session lasting over a few hours. My chocolate brown eyes looked lifeless. I sighed, letting out a yawn, before there was a loud slamming sound on the door.
I let out a scream, jumping in the air. I pressed my hand to my chest, as I slowly recovered when I heard my brother’s voice. He sounded pissed and I slowly cracked open the door. His intense hazel eyes fell on me; he had brown hair, currently messy and about chin-length. He was two years my junior, though he stood a good six inches taller, and at times, he was as intimidating as hell.
“What are you doing?” He spoke, and it was in a calm tone of voice, and that meant he was more irritated than usual.
“Well, you see…Haley.” I said, as if that would say it all. He had apparently been asleep, for he was wearing his pajamas, and it looked like he was suffering from a bad case of insomnia.
“Really? I thought you were just having one of your midnight grooming sessions. By the way- not going too well.” Matthieu said sarcastically.
“Shut I’m. I’m dead tired right now. It isn’t my fault I look bad. Some of us don’t look naturally good.” I said.
“I’m wondering if that’s a compliment.” He said.
“No. It’s because you’re a guy.” I shot back.
“I see how it goes. Well, maybe some girls are naturally good-looking, just not you.” Matt replied.
“Matth-” I was about to shout, but I heard the front door open.
“Leighton? Is that you?” My mom called.
“Come on Leighton, you know better than that.” He teased, and I suppose it was good that he was on the track team, for he was gone in a second. I reached for the lights, but it was too late. My mom was standing in the hall, holding her bag, some clothing that had been dry cleaned, and her keys.
“Leighton. It’s twelve fifteen. What are you doing up at this hour? And dressed no less?” She looked even more annoyed than my brother. I took a breath.
“Well I-” I began.
“Too slow. You’re just making excuses. Off to bed. Now. We’ll discuss this in the morning young lady.” She snapped. I groaned, as I trudged off, passing my brother’s room. I shot glares into the darkness of his room.
“You know, I’m not blind.” I heard him say.
“Could’ve fooled me. What happened to your glasses?” I replied. “I remember how nerdy you looked with them on in elementary school.”
“Leighton!” My mom shrieked. “Did you wake your brother up?!” Before I could react something made contact with my face. A pillow.
“Ow!” I never knew a pillow could hurt before. I guess you learn something new everyday. I was about to go into his room and slap that grin I knew was on his face, but my mom intervened. She snatched the pillow away, and went in to “comfort” the angelic child.
“Where was she anyway?” He was good at playing innocent.
“I don’t know honey. Thankfully I didn’t smell any cigarettes or alcohol on her. You know what kids do these days.” I knew she knew me better than that. But she was rubbing it in my face that I had done something wrong. She only did that when I got her really mad.
“I didn’t know that she was like that.” He said, and Matt shot me a smug look. I narrowed my eyes at him, but I decided to be the mature one and just walk away. I made my way two doors down, before finding myself in my familiar room. The walls were painted a cream color and my comforter was green, patches of different shades made it up. Two pillows were a shade of light sea green, and the two accent pillows matched the comforter. The curtains were also different shades of green.
In my room I had some common belongings, an ihome on my nightstand, a small inexpensive stereo, a wardrobe, some perfume, and make-up. My favorite belonging of all was my teddy bear. I had him since I was very young, a parting gift from my father who had left when I was younger. I changed into a baggy shirt and shorts, before climbing into bed. A few minutes later my mom came in, to say goodnight. Her dark hair looked frazzled, and her face showed some wrinkles due to stress and worry. Her golden-brown eyes provided some comfort, yet they were strict at the same moment.
She was still annoyed with me. I didn’t doubt that. And I suppose it was much deserved.
“Good night sweetie. Get a good night’s rest and we’ll discuss your punishment in the morning.” She said, sitting beside me. She kissed my forehead, before leaving the room, and shutting off the lights as she left. I lay in bed for a while, staring at the wall, before falling into the darkness of sleep. The next morning the loud blaring music of my ipod awoke me. I sat up, shutting off the alarm. The bright red numbers read “6:15”. I rubbed my eyes, as I slid out of bed.
I quickly approached my closet, grabbing a pair of jeans, and a sweater. I vaguely remember that the weather was going to be rather chilly today. But that was expected, since it was already mid- November. I rushed over to the bathroom, hoping to beat my brother to it.
“This is what you get for staying out late.” He had just got into the bathroom, and he shut the door. I groaned, and pressed my head to the wall.
“Leighton. Come eat breakfast, I need to have a long talk with you.” My mom said. Of course. I bet Matthieu had planned this. I went into the kitchen, pouring myself a bowl of cheerios, as the lecture began.
“You’re a high school junior. You really shouldn’t be staying out late. I find it very irresponsible that you take advantage of the fact that I must work late at times.” She began. I braced myself for the remainder of what she had to say.
“Therefore, I’m setting stricter ground rules. No staying out past ten and that’s the latest. I’m taking away your cell phone for three weeks, and television time. I better see you cracking open a book whenever I am home this week. I won’t be working late nights anymore.” She said firmly. And I knew that once her mind was made up, there was no getting past it. “Now the only reason I’m allowing you to take my car to school is because I know your brother needs a ride. So you better not be taking it anywhere, other then school, home, and where I tell you to go.” My mom said.
She always walked to work. It was about a two mile walk, but it was part of her new exercise and eat healthy phase. Also, school was too far for my brother and me to walk to. Matthieu entered the kitchen wearing a shirt that looked to big for him and a new pair of jeans.
“What’s for lunch today?” He asked.
“Heroes I picked up from the deli.” Our mom said. Suddenly my cell phone rang off; it was currently situated on the counter. Matthieu grabbed it before either of us could react.
“Hello?” He answered, I figured that it was one my friends, for he was asking her what she wanted to tell me. “Oh, I see.” He looked at me, trying to hold in laughter apparently. I stared at him, annoyed, before looking at my mom for help. She offered me no comfort. I spent the remainder of the morning trying to get my cell phone away from my brother, until mom forced us into the car, otherwise we’d be late to school.
“So, who’s this Ethan Barnes?” Matthieu asked.
“A guy.” I offered him nothing to use against me. I adjusted the mirrors, before I stuck the key into the ignition.
“No duh.” Matt stared at me, “Well, it sounded like someone.” He said.
“It was no one.” I replied, tersely. I started to pull out of the driveway, gripping the wheel tightly.
“Well if you don’t tell me, someone will.” He said.
“Like who?” I asked, easing off the pedal all too quickly. We jerked, and I stepped on the brake.
“You can’t even drive.” He said.
“Not when you’re bothering me.” I replied, as I took a breath. Then I turned the wheel, and started down the road toward school.
“See ya.” Matthieu left the car as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. I turned off the car, as I leaned back. Ethan Barnes was a senior, and someone I’ve had a crush on since middle school. I climbed out of the car, reaching in to grab my bag. I slammed the door shut, and locked it, before making my way down the sidewalk. I wondered what new methods of torture Matthieu would come up with after discovering this piece of information.
First period, I had AP United States History. I can’t say I enjoyed having one of my harder classes bright and early in the morning. It made the course even more difficult. Not only did I face the challenge of large workloads, but I also had to resist the urge of dozing off and losing sight of what I was doing. And I had to resist the urge of staring at Mr. Nelson’s oversized nose, and shiny and very bald head. I was copying down the notes when almost the entire row shook. At first everyone tensed, looking around, and then they shook again. Nearly everyone’s phones were vibrating.
“Whose phone was that?” Mr. Nelson flipped out, unable to pinpoint whose phone it was. His beady and hawk-like eyes surveyed the room, but no one budged. I noted that a few girls in the seats ahead were tense…resisting the urge to reach for their phones and quickly reply to the message they had received. Some people were like that. Texting addicts. I wonder if texting could actually be considered an actual addiction. I believed it could. As soon as Mr. Nelson realized he wouldn’t catch the instigator, he turned about and resumed his long lecture.
I took a breath, reaching into my bag, and taking a quick peek. But before I could glance, I heard a large mass of screams and shouts in the hallway. Mr. Nelson looked around frantically, as if to say, ‘Who dares to interrupt my class?’ Most if not all of my class stood, congregating around the door to get a look. He shouted for them to sit down. I was the only one sitting in my seat.
“Look! There’s a fight.” A student shouted, as the supposedly more mature AP students egged them on. Getting to my next class was a nightmare, the hall wasn’t yet cleared out, and the security guards were as lackadaisical as usual. Perhaps pretending that they didn’t know what was going on until the last possible second. After getting trampled by the massive crowd, I attempted to squeeze past a few students in between the lockers.
With my adverse luck, I was slammed into the lockers by the throng of people and was unable to move. I made a few endeavors to escape, but was unable to break free. I was nearly suffocated by the particularly large set senior, a male who I didn’t recognize, and a rather aggressive female who was enjoying the fight way too much.
“In case you didn’t notice, you’re crushing someone.” When I glanced up I spotted my best friend. To most- it was surprising that my best friend was a guy, I had met him a few years ago, during our first year in middle school. Reilly Moore, fellow employees in the Madison Public Library. Perhaps it was because I showed him the ropes, (he had no experience with jobs whatsoever- and a strange tendency to have periodic klutz attacks). Moreover, he possessed an amiable disposition, and was easy to get along with.
He was nearly the opposite of his older brother- but he still had the same charm about him, though in a different way. He stood a few inches taller than I, with dark blond hair and bright green eyes. He was built like an athlete, with an interest in soccer. His brother, Landon, was in at least three. I was relieved to see him. The male who was crushing me, shifted his weight, and in that split second, I managed to make my escape.
“Thank you so much.” I managed to gasp.
“No problem. You should really be more aggressive Leighton.” He smiled.
“Let’s get out of here. I think I heard some kids talking about stealing some food from the cafeteria and starting a riot. I don’t want to be here when they start throwing rotten milk.” I said. Everyone knew about the existence of the lunch ladies’ secret stash of year old milk. As old and rotten as they came, they were always left in the very back of the fridge. I couldn’t say why they kept it, but students found it to be a good weapon, or reason to start occasional food fights. Once we emerged from the crowd, we found ourselves down the English hallway; we had decided it would be best to avoid the cafeteria for a little while.
“Do you know if you made National Honor Society yet?” Things worked a little differently here. There used to be a Junior National Honor Society, and a Senior National Honor Society, but due to the lack of students which were nominated, Mrs. Murphy (the head of both Societies) had decided to merge the two.
It had created quite a bit of controversy, but eventually, the school board had seemed to deem it a good idea- it would help to lessen the ‘boundary’ standing between the juniors and seniors. It was a way of branching out. Spreading the hard work of the school’s finest students to assist others in a broader fashion (Or something like that). Over the summer, the decisions had been made, and this week they had been giving out letters determining one’s admittance.
“No. I’m not sure if anyone knows, since the mob is blocking the hall.”
“Yeah, I think they posted names on the bulletin as well, but that seems pretty inaccessible at the moment.” Reilly said.
“We can always check later.” I suggested. After school I approached the bulletin, the crowd had dissipated and I was excited to find my name. My finger slid down the list, searching for Reilly’s name. I found it within a few more minutes. I was somewhat surprised to find his brother’s name on the list as well.
I was waiting in the car for fifteen minutes or so, waiting for my brother Matthieu. I counted another minute, before reaching into my pocket to see if he had called or texted me.
“Isn’t that Honor Society meeting today?” Matt asked and he seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.
“It’s tomorrow. Afternoon.” I said.
“I thought it would have been funny if you went running into the school.” He said.
“Well, it was scheduled today. But luckily, I heard the ann0uncement that they rescheduled it. Now where were you?” I said.
“Hanging out. I found out about Ethan.” He grinned.
“Shut up. And get in the car.” I snapped.
“Mm-hm.” He got into the car. There was a bit of traffic going on in the parking lot, so I waited a good two minutes before I began to pull out of the parking spot. Perhaps it was because there were so many cars blocking my view that I didn’t notice what would happen next.
“Hey watch it!” Before I knew it, I had almost barreled over two very familiar figures. I stepped on the brake quickly, and we narrowly missed them. It was none other than Landon Moore, and a guy that I had known since elementary school, Nolan Walker. We were in the same class, APUS. Coincidentally we were both in Newspaper Club and the Art Club. He was the lazy type that couldn’t be bothered; he was quiet- a bit of a book worm. Dark brown hair, and blue eyes, overall rather good-looking, except he was usually seen with a stoic expression.
“Trying to kill us Lewis?” Landon cracked a smile, as I sighed. The two looked garbed for gym make ups, probably walking over to the track.
“That’s probably the general idea.” Nolan spoke; I didn’t expect the two to be associating with one another. Landon was tall, with a very well-muscled physique. He was extremely tan, with bright green eyes and golden blond looks that framed his face perfectly. He had a side swept bang that fell into his eyes, which often made girls swoon over him.
“Well, if it’s alright, I think I should be going now.” Nolan slowly walked past, as if he thought I really didn’t know how to drive. I gripped the wheel tightly, as Landon winked at me and ran ahead. I rolled my eyes.
“Nice.” Matthieu commented.
“You could have warned me! You’re my second pair of eyes. Except you’re playing your PSP!” I shouted at him.
“Ever hear of side view mirrors? Oh- and don’t forget the rearview.” He said. I grumbled in protest, as I started to pull out again. But this time, a pink corvette zoomed right behind me, and into the parking spot next to me. I let out a scream, as I braked again.
“Hey!” Matt didn’t have a seatbelt on, and this stop was much quicker, so his head made contact with the dashboard.
“That was not my fault that time!” I shouted.
“Who the hell is that?” Matt grumbled. The doors opened, and I spotted a perfectly tanned leg, her nails were manicured and she wore expensive stilettos. A few moments later, a drop dead gorgeous, skinny blonde stepped out of the car.
“I don’t care who she is, if that got us into an accident I would have made her pay for repairs.” Matt said. A girl emerged from the other side; she was rather tall, with soft facial features, deep red hair that fell to her shoulders, and blue-gray eyes. She wore the track uniform, and carried a large duffel bag.
“Sorry, are you alright?” The girl spoke to me.
“We’re fine.” I said, through the open window. The blonde rolled her eyes, as she grabbed the red head’s arm. Then she dragged her off, talking to her quickly.
After the parking lot escapade, I managed to get us home safe and sound. We pulled into our driveway, met with the sight of our one story house. The shutters were a shade of blue-gray, and the panels were white. I always had fond memories of this house, whenever I thought of my father; it came back to this house. I checked the time. Just enough time to stop by the shop. Then I had to come home and work on my homework. It took me a few minutes to arrive at Lewis’ Clothing shop. Not the most original name. I entered the store, the racks filled with clearance items, and the walls covered with new items. I took a seat in the back, waving to my mom as she attended to someone up front. I sat on the stool, in front of a mannequin, as I unveiled my newest design. I pressed my fingers to the fabric, the feel of it bringing back even more memories.
The back room had two tables, papers piled on top along with pencils, pens, and markers. There were six mannequins, and pins everywhere. A few tape measurers here and there. Further back, if you moved through a curtain of beads you found the storage room. There were hundreds of different kinds of fabrics, and a wall filled with drawers containing various buttons and other accessories for the clothing. I took a seat by the sewing machine, as I started to sew. The rhythmic sound was music to my ears. I recalled it all too well. My mother used to spend hours in the kitchen, sewing me little dresses and hats.
My father used to sit across from her, reading the paper and sipping his coffee. They’d have long conversations about their day, about their hopes, about their future. I would climb into his lap, and fall asleep in his arms, the proverbial scent of him. A sharp scent of cinnamon, a floral scent, and something unrecognizable. Little did I know that there was never going to be a future for my parents together.
I don’t think I should mention what exactly happened to him next. Sometimes these things pain me too much. I hung up some clothing that had been packed away into boxes, shelving it, and putting the tags on. I was lost in my own world.
“Excuse me.” I heard a high voice, definitely belonging to a young girl. I turned about- she was only around eight years old with light brown hair and pretty blue eyes. As I gazed at this young girl, I just saw a sweet, and innocent face. But little did I know that this girl was the start of the beginning. The start, guiding me to find a love that would be so completely unexpected…and yet, had always existed since the very beginning.





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